The Miha Artnak, 2024
This exhibition basically has some art that you can buy and some that you can’t. —The Miha Artnak
#ownership #control #authorship #value
- 7 artworks with different types of ownership that influence on value and perception
- Property: Unique, limited series, unlimited series, DAO, soulbound, public domain, and possession
- Genre: Nude, still life, allegory, landscape, portrait, conceptual, and abstract
- 4 components of the artworks
- Contract, prompt (for humans), digital image, and material painting
- Controlling optional mutability in artworks
- Pre-painted blank original artwork
- Mutabilities in the immutable identity
- Global consensus dilemma
- Art in Slovenia. Painted in China.
- Prompts for humans
- Art as a product (AaaP)
- Store of value and a hedge against inflation
- Indestructibility of the artwork (Ship of Theseus protocol)
- Technology agnostic
- Buyer picks the blockchain
- NFT 2.0
- Blockchain interoperability
- Interchangeable authorship in production for resell purposes
- Secure drop-off for keeping buyer’s anonymity
- Public domain
- Public’s private property
- Concept of unownability
- Unownable token (U0T)
About the exhibition
The exhibition serves as a template illustrating how ownership functions based on the artist's perspective.
A picture worth a thousand words finds new meaning through AI prompts. In the upcoming world of generated expression and everything-on-demand, the enduring worth of art remains rooted in its intellectual and material property, the labor invested (whether by humans or other means), its cultural and spatial context, and the artist's unique identity.
The creative process emulates the AI process, entirely replaced by humans.
Seven paintings¹, each representing a unique form of ownership², challenge conventional perceptions of art within the context of property, authorship, and the art market, all within the framework of current technology³ and services⁴.
These artworks are comprised of four key components: contract, prompt (for humans), digital image, and material painting. Optional mutabilities within these components not only safeguard the artwork but also allow for adjustments tailored to the owner's preferences.
¹nude, still life, allegory, landscape, portrait, conceptual, and abstract ²unique, limited series, unlimited series, DAO, soulbound, public domain, and possession ³blockchain, cryptography, AI ⁴photography, painting on demand, legal
Hello there human, Thank you for taking the time. I've been working on this project for several years, and now I finally have the courage to share it with the public 💛 🌝 The theme explored by this exhibition revolves around the concept of ownership. Hence the name, "Last" (property, attribute in Slovenian language). Each of the seven art pieces comes with seven different ownership modes (unique, limited series, unlimited series, non-transferable, unique owned by all, reproduction owned by all, and possession). Due to the concept, the project could have easily been reduced to seven blank canvases with different ownership types, but I wanted to create an aesthetic experience with a richer narrative. During the contemplation and execution, I encountered very complex themes, which raise more questions than answers. 🎨 The motifs I've chosen come from personal perspectives, my own image, my environment, my desires, my girlfriend, my niece, my pet, and my purchase. 🔮 I replaced the process of artificial intelligence from instructions to generated content with humans. I created the concept (prompt) with instructions, a storyline, and artistic direction. The digital images are the result of a dialogue with the exceptional photographer (my personal favorite) Klemen Ilovar. The paintings were created by painting services in China. 🐳 The project also involves questions about blockchain technology, which sparked this project. Besides decentralization, ownership is one of its central themes. 💈 The artwork is not just a picture; it consists of a contract, an outline (prompt for humans), a digital image, and a physical painting. 🚢 The philosophical question of whether a ship, as you gradually replace all its parts and it is no longer the same as before, is still the same ship, sparked my thoughts on the originality of artwork. This led to the creation of a protocol named after this concept — the Ship of Theseus. It safeguards originality from destruction since the image is merely a part of the entire artwork that can be replaced with a newly painted original.
Pozdravljen človek, hvala za vzet čas. Projekt sem snoval več let in zdaj si ga končno upam deliti z javnostjo 💛 🌝 Tema, ki jo razstava preizprašuje je koncept lastnine. Od tu tudi ime Last (lastnina, lastnost). Vseh sedem umetniških del ima sedem različnih načinov lastninjenja (unikat, omejena serija, neomejena serija, neprenosljivost, unikat v lasti vseh, reprodukcija v lasti vseh, posest). Projekt bi zaradi koncepta bil z lahkoto zreduciran na sedem praznih platen z različnimi tipi lastninjenja, a sem želel estetsko izkušnjo in vsebinsko bogatejšo zgodbo. Ob razmišljanjih in izvedbi sem naletel na zelo kompleksne teme, ki imajo več vprašanj kot odgovorov. 🎨 Motivi, ki sem jih izbral izhajajo iz svojine, t.j. osebni pogled, lastna podoba, moje okolje, moje želje, moja punca, moja nečakinja, moja žival, moj nakup. 🔮 Proces umetne inteligence od navodil do generirane vsebine sem nadomestil z ljudmi. Postavil sem koncept z navodili, zgodbo in umetniško usmeritvijo. Digitalna slika je delo v dialogu z izjemnim fotografom (osebno najljubšim) Klemnom Ilovarjem. Slike so delo slikarskih storitev iz Kitajske. 🐳 Projekt vključuje tudi vprašanja blockchain tehnologije, ki so zanetila ta projekt, saj je, poleg decentralizacije, lastnina ena glavnih njenih vprašanj. 💈Umetniško delo ni zgolj slika, temveč je sestavljeno iz pogodbe, orisa, digitalne slike in materialne slike. 🚢 Filozofsko vprašanje, ali je ladja, ko ji postopoma zamenjaš vse dele in ni nič več od prej, še vedno ista ladja, je pri meni zanetilo razmišljanje o originalnosti umetniškega dela. Nastal je protokol poimenovan po tej misli — Ship of Theseus, ki varuje originalnost pred uničenjem, saj je slika zgolj del celotnega umetniškega dela, ki se jo lahko nadomesti z novo naslikanim originalom.
4 components of the artworks
Each artwork is made from four components
contract, prompt (for humans), digital image, material painting that play a part in controlling its (optional) mutability. The properties and rules are defined in the immutable contract that influences the prompt (story and art direction), digital image (interpretation), and material painting’s replaceability and its permanence.
Life is Live
Hello World Again
Non-fungible Token (NFT)
Non-fungible Token (NFT)
Non-fungible Token (NFT)
Soulbound Token (SBT)
Non-fungible Token (NFT)
Creative Commons (CC0)
Unownable Token (U0T)
Controlling optional mutability in artworks
Immutability holds paramount importance in the NFT digital image space as it guarantees the authenticity and provenance of digital assets. By being unchangeable and tamper-proof on a blockchain, NFTs ensure that ownership and creation details remain transparent and unaltered. This feature combats issues of forgery and establishes trust among buyers and collectors. However, while immutability secures the integrity of NFTs, mutability—limited and controlled—can offer flexibility for artists who may wish to update or enhance their creations. Striking a balance between these two aspects could allow for dynamic engagement while upholding the core tenets of authenticity and security.
Pre-painted blank original artwork
Life is Live is a pre-painted canvas with post-sale mutability that introduces an intriguing layer of creative potential. Even if the original state of the canvas is captivating, the possibility of transformation can amplify the connection between the artwork and its owner. This concept not only enhances the collectible value of the piece but also transforms art ownership into an interactive and collaborative experience, breathing new life into the work itself.
Mutabilities in the immutable identity
The is owned by the portraitist for the rest of his life. In the realm of an immutable identity, mutability assumes a vital role. It accommodates the ever-changing facets that contribute to our complex persona, both online and offline. Embracing mutability permits us to reflect growth, adapt to evolving passions, and redefine our narrative. It is the dynamic bridge that connects our immutable core with the evolving layers of our identity, ensuring authenticity and resonance throughout our journey.
Global consensus dilemma
Hello World Again belongs to every living human (yes, you too). Optional mutability of the digital image and the material painting create a consensus dilemma since we don’t know how 8 billion owners can agree on something and where most aren’t even aware of their belonging and its voting power.
e.g. Where is the painting showcased, should we change the motif, and how will we pay for the costs?
In the coming years, as AI-generated art continues to proliferate, the inherent value of authentic human expression will become increasingly evident. While AI excels in technical precision, the essence of human artistry lies in its imperfections, its narratives, and the vitality it brings. Amidst the surge of technology, the need for human touch and creativity will remain essential, resonating through the stories told, the emotions conveyed, and the very livelihood of the artistic endeavor.
The artistic process mimics the AI process, entirely replaced by humans.
Concept-originating artist The Miha Artnak guides the foundation (with story and art direction as prompts), while the photographer Klemen Ilovar adds interpretation and depth (with digital images). Multiple painters Leo Liu, Lang Dao, and Jo Bun replicate the images in material, infusing their unique artistic styles and creating a dynamic layered collaboration.
Art in Slovenia. Painted in China.
Artworks conceived in Slovenia take shape through precise manufacturing in China, blending artistic stories and aesthetics from one corner of the world with expert craftsmanship from another. The fusion of cultural origins and global production imbues the piece with a cross-cultural essence.
Prompts for humans
The project provides prompts designed for human creators. These prompts serve as both subjective narratives and objective instructions for crafting visual art within the artwork.
Art as a product (AaaP)
Sceptic Cat is an unlimited series that's not printed, but hand-painted on demand. This means every piece is crafted individually with the personal touch of a human hand. This approach not only highlights the craftsmanship of hand-painted creation but also adds a layer of variation that enriches the overall series, engaging viewers with a harmonious interplay of sameness and differentiation.
Store of value and a hedge against inflation
Artworks for sale
1337 4I27 and
Life is Live offer all mentioned secure investment protocols creating a safe investment for owners.
Indestructibility of the artwork
This agreement ensures authenticity and provenance through insurance protocol, inspired by the philosophical inquiry into whether an object remains the same when all of its components are replaced.
Ship of Theseus (SoT) insurance protocol, which safeguards the value of the painting in case of loss or destruction. The Non-fungible Token (NFT) with its digital image remains the heart of the artwork, while the painting must be repainted to restore the artwork's completeness. The replaced replica painting now assumes the role of the new original.
The same principle applies to the digital counterpart (NFT), which can be burned in the event of hacking or a switch to a preferred blockchain solution. It can then be replaced with a new original, returning it to its original owner.
Investing in technology-agnostic artwork brings a distinct advantage. It's adaptable to various technologies, reducing risks associated with specific platforms. For digital assets, safeguards in the contract protect against loss, theft, or destruction, with a commitment to providing superior technical solutions if needed. This ensures a secure investment, resilient to technology shifts. The first version will be tried out on blockchain technology.
Buyer picks the blockchain
ETH, DOT, ICP, SOL, or even Ordinals can be used for digital image proof of authenticity and provenance. The buyer chooses the preferred blockchain solution and can still change it in the future.
The excess of blockchains and trends created an unstable store of value for the NFTs. The NFT 2.0 returns to the original utility—unchangeable proof of authenticity and provenance but with a twist. The blockchain on where the NFT is minted doesn’t play a role anymore as the NFT 2.0 serves as:
- original mint containing contract and image location with interoperable options
- replaceable asset with the Ship of Theseus protocol
The Non-fungible Token (NFT) is digital component of the artwork on blockchain that offers interoperability. Without interoperability, different blockchain networks would be isolated from each other, making it difficult to exchange data and assets. Interoperability also links markets for increased profits.
Suggested interoperable options:
NFT backup The additional NFT is minted on another blockchain with access keys linked to the original wallet. This serves as a safeguard in case of service obsoletion or to explore new markets and opportunities.
Proof of prior ownership In comparison to a real estate land registry, burning the original NFT doesn't result in the destruction of the NFT but rather removes its access. Following the burn, a new NFT minting process is initiated on the preferred blockchain, preserving the proof of previous ownership. While the burned NFT remains on the chain without necessitating direct access, subsequent transactions exclusively rely on the proof of prior ownership associated with the newly minted NFT.
Interchangeable authorship in production for resell purposes
The contract is the only immutable component in all the artworks, so the prompt, digital image and the painting are, in many cases, interchangeable; thus are the authors in production. Most artworks have the option to adapt to times or change to the owner’s creative preferences but they yet remain The Miha Artnak’s original.
For resell value or subjective preferences, the owners can change the painting with the new painter of their choice, and in some cases they can even change the digital image (photographer) and/or prompt (story). The more renowned painter, photographer or storyteller, the better the resell value.
Secure drop-off for keeping buyer’s anonymity
Ensuring both security and anonymity, a painting can be securely delivered through a designated drop-off point. Buyers can choose a conveniently located pickup spot, safeguarding their privacy by avoiding the need to reveal personal addresses.
In the creative field, the "commons" refers to a shared space of ideas, resources, and knowledge that is accessible to all. It fosters collaboration, innovation, and the collective growth of creative endeavors.
Type II is in public domain under CC Zero license. The painting is exhibited amongst others but is just one of many (relinquished of ownership) reproduction prints.
The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable. Because no one holds the exclusive rights, anyone can legally use or reference those works without permission except for …
Public’s private property
Hello World Again is a unique artwork that belongs to every living person. What we do with it is up to us. But where do we even start and how do we inform everybody about their property and their rights?
Creating a system where all living people collectively own and vote on an object presents several complex challenges.
- Universal Awareness: Ensuring that every living person is aware of the object's existence is a monumental task. Access to information varies widely, and some individuals might be difficult to reach due to factors like remoteness, lack of connectivity, or personal choice.
- Inclusivity: Achieving true inclusivity in voting is difficult. Language barriers, accessibility issues, and disparities in technological infrastructure can hinder participation. Ensuring that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, has an equal opportunity to vote is a significant challenge.
- Security and Authentication: Verifying the identity of voters while maintaining their anonymity is crucial to prevent fraud and manipulation. Designing a secure and tamper-proof system that accommodates every individual is complex.
- Decision-Making Process: Achieving consensus among all living people is nearly impossible. Disagreements and conflicting interests are inevitable. Defining the decision-making process, including thresholds for approval or changes, is challenging.
- Logistics and Implementation: Coordinating actions such as storage, display, or changes to the object on a global scale is logistically daunting. Ensuring that the decisions made by the collective are effectively implemented poses practical challenges.
- Cultural and Ethical Considerations: Addressing diverse cultural perspectives and ethical beliefs is crucial. What is acceptable to one group might be objectionable to another, requiring a delicate balance in decision-making.
- Privacy and Security: Protecting individual privacy in a system of this scale is a significant concern. Managing personal data, especially in a transparent system, requires robust security measures.
- Accountability: Determining responsibility for decisions and actions related to the object can be complex. In case of disputes or adverse consequences, establishing accountability mechanisms is necessary.
- Resource Allocation: Managing the financial and logistical aspects of maintaining the object, including funding for storage, maintenance, and potential changes, requires careful planning and resource allocation.
- Legal and Regulatory Challenges: Addressing legal and regulatory frameworks on a global scale is intricate. Different jurisdictions might have conflicting laws and regulations that need to be navigated.
In practice, achieving a system where all living people collectively own and vote on an object would require innovative solutions that address these complex challenges while respecting individual rights and autonomy.
Concept of Unownability
The current legal system's foundation revolves around property ownership, where abandoned property follows a "first come, first served" principle. In this framework, material possessions are never left unowned. An item that becomes temporarily ownerless essentially enters a state akin to "trash," awaiting the next person to claim it and utilize it.
The exhibition introduces a groundbreaking legal concept: the "unownability" of artwork. Under this proposal, the only interaction permitted with the artwork is to have it in one's possession.
In the physical world, a painting
2023 without an owner presents a dilemma, as it places the responsibility on a bystander who possesses it, typically without incurring any legal consequences.
In the digital realm, a novel solution is proposed: the Unownable Token (U0T). This token grants possession but precludes ownership. Think of the token as the ball in an ongoing game, continuously passed among players without ever coming to rest in one person's hands, as long as the game continues. Rather than getting a finite outcome, it creates an infinite game that continually sparks creativity, with the added feature of permitting mutability of the digital image. The U0T acts as a transport token with the capacity to remove information or value, encouraging dynamic and ever-evolving interactions.
About the author
The Miha Artnak
The Miha Artnak (Michelangelo da Lubiana) is a Ljubljana-based artist, activist, and entrepreneur, active since the 2000s. His satirical paintings, environmental installations, and subversive performances make him one of the most talked-about artists of the last decade.
GM fren! If you find any joy and value in what I do, please consider donating crypto with Coinbase Commerce
CC0 (aka CC Zero) is a public dedication tool, which allows creators to give up their copyright and put their works into the worldwide public domain. CC0 allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, with no conditions.
A decentralized autonomous organization is an organization constructed by rules encoded as a computer program that is often transparent, controlled by the organization's members and not influenced by a central government.
Immutability is one of the key characteristics of Blockchain. The ability to resist change and remain unaltered, indelible even in a decentralized, distributed environment is what makes Blockchain interesting for those who seek accountability and trust in the system.
Blockchain interoperability refers to the ability of blockchains to communicate with other blockchains. The foundation of blockchain interoperability is cross-chain messaging protocols, which enable blockchains to read data from and/or write data to other blockchains.
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique digital identifier that is recorded on a blockchain, and is used to certify ownership and authenticity. It cannot be copied, substituted, or subdivided. The ownership of an NFT is recorded in the blockchain and can be transferred by the owner, allowing NFTs to be sold and traded.
Unownable token (U0T) enables possession but prevents ownership. Think of the token as the ball in the game passed around the players, never ending up with someone as long as it is being played. Instead of getting a finite result, it’s an infinite game that provokes constant creativity.
This is an agreement that guarantees authenticity with provenance protocol called Ship of Theseus (SoT), which is based on a philosophical thought that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.
If the painting gets lost or destroyed, the Non-fungible Token (NFT) with its digital image remains the core of the artwork and it needs to be repainted in order for the artwork to be complete again. The replaced replica painting is now the new original.
Soulbound tokens, also known as non-transferrable NFTs (non-fungible tokens), are digital assets that are permanently tied to a specific individual (or crypto wallet) — meaning they cannot be transferred to others.